Thespians & Socialists

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Canada witnessed a weary battle this weekend with Thomas Mulcair and the NDP occupying one corner and Justin Trudeau and the Liberals the other. First out of the gate was the NDP trying desperately to light a fire under leader Mulcair and send him into orbit. Attempting a reboot, the strategy was to introduce him once again to the nation and allow us to see what a passionate and genuinely good guy he really is…

Tom Mulcair

Then while the love parade got underway, the party could be steered towards some elusive “middle-ground” by running away from the filthy heritage of “socialism.” That was the plan until the media decided Mulcair has the charisma of a wet marmot, which is no match for the swashbuckling sizzle of Justin Trudeau!

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The media narrative can’t be entirely to blame for the fate of the NDP this weekend. It’s never good form to hold your convention at the same time as a rival, especially one that includes the coronation of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s offspring. It’s also probably best to avoid any appearance of pandering to the electorate. If you’re going to water down your platform at least don’t let it become the takeaway of your convention.

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While Trudeau easily won the Liberal leadership race, his appeal clearly has as much to do with the flow of his locks as his pedigree. He’s got nothing new to say and what he does say is as genuine as melodrama. So, while the NDP panders, at least Mulcair is earnestly tepid; he obviously can’t help it. Trudeau, on the other hand, is a transparent thespian, playing to the crowd and attempting to adjust what Roland Barthes called “the grain” of his voice for maximum affect.

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A threshold was crossed this weekend – it feels like Canada is at the beginning of a long, two-year campaign. Anything can happen; as always, the script remains unwritten.

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